Images of Infant Buddha in the Náprstek Museum Collections

Pages 33–38
Keywords Vietnamese art, Infant Buddha, Asian sculpture, gestures, sutras, Mahayana Buddhism
Type of Article Peer-reviewed
Citation MÜLLEROVÁ, Petra. Images of Infant Buddha in the Náprstek Museum Collections. Annals of the Náprstek Museum. Prague: National Museum, 2011, 32(1), 33–38. ISSN 0231-844X (print), 2533-5685 (online). Also available from:
Annals of the Náprstek Museum | 2011/32/1

Sculptures of Infant Buddha in Indochina region are influenced by Hinayana or Mahayana interpretations of Buddhist sutras. In the area with strong Mahayana impact, the influence of local social rules on art is quite obvious: the role of vigorous social principals and customs (for example not touching anybody’s head, not rising the hand above other person head) of the society influenced strongly the style of Infant Buddha sculptures in Northern Vietnam. On the other hand, in regions with historically strong impact of Hinayana Buddhism, in part of Central Vietnam, in South Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos, the influence of strict interpretation of sutras very probably impacts on sculptures depicting the historical Buddha as child. Sculptures in Cambodia and Laos region are very high, almost like adult persons, and only thanks to the gesture of arms one can determine that they are “Infant Buddha”

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